Pakistan summons Indian envoy to protest soldiers' killing

Islamabad, Aug 22 (IANS) Pakistan Thursday summoned Indian High Commissioner T.C.A Raghavan to protest the killing of a Pakistani soldier on the Line of Control and the "continued and unwarranted ceasefire violations" by the Indian army leading to deaths.

The foreign office, in a statement, said Foreign Secretary Jalil Abbas Jilani called Raghavan to the Foreign Office Thursday and lodged a "strong protest" over the killing of Lance Naik Habibullah "as a result of indiscriminate firing by the Indian army in Rawalakot sector today".

Jilani conveyed Pakistan's "serious concern over the continued and unwarranted ceasefire violations by the Indian army resulting in loss of precious human lives", the statement said.

Calling upon the Indian government to "respect the ceasefire agreement and desist from such acts which have the potential of further escalating the tension", he also expressed Pakistan's "desire to engage with India in a constructive dialogue process, aimed at reducing tensions and restoring peace and tranquility along the Line of Control".

Jilani proposed that senior officials from the foreign ministries and militaries could meet to "discuss ways and means to strengthen and expand the existing military and political mechanisms to ensure that the Ceasefire Agreement was observed in letter and spirit", the statement said.

Earlier, Foreign Office spokesperson Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry said India should stop ceasefire violations and "other provocations".

In his weekly briefing, Chaudhry "urged India to adopt patience like Pakistan on the tension on Line of Control", said a statement.

Pakistan also called upon India "to reciprocate to its policy of restraint, responsibility and dialogue for the larger interest of peace in the region".

He said Pakistan's desire for peace should not be construed as its weakness and made it clear that the country's people and institutions are capable to defend its territory and interests. He said "our peace overtures are essentially in the interest of the region and the two countries".

Asked about the proposed meeting between the prime ministers of two countries in New York, Chaudhry said "the leadership of Pakistan is prepared to use that occasion to build confidence and remove the trust deficit.

He said channels of communications should remain open as suspension of dialogue will serve the objectives of those who do not want peace.

The spokesperson also denied that Pakistan was behind the killing of five Indian soldiers along the LoC. He said Pakistan has been suffering from the menace of terrorism and it could not be held responsible for any terror act.

On Wednesday, Deputy High Commissioner Gopal Baglay was summoned to protest the killing of a Pakistani army captain in alleged Indian army firing in Shaqma sector, Kargil. India had said it had carried out "appropriate retaliation" to Pakistani shelling.

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